The metasemantics of memory

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1 Scopus citations


In Sven Bernecker's excellent new book, Memory, he proposes an account of what we might call the "metasemantics" of memory: the conditions that determine the contents of the mental representations employed in memory. Bernecker endorses a "pastist externalist" view, according to which the content of a memory-constituting representation is fixed, in part, by the "external" conditions prevalent at the (past) time of the tokening of the original representation (the one from which the memory-constituting one is causally derived). Bernecker argues that the best version of a pastist externalism about memory contents will have the result that there can be semantically-induced memory losses in cases involving unwitting "world-switching". The burden of this paper is to show that Bernecker's argument for this conclusion does not succeed. My arguments on this score have implications for our picture of mind-world relations, as these are reflected in a subject's attempts to recall her past thoughts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Externalism
  • Memory
  • Metasemantics
  • Semantics
  • World-switching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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